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Author Topic: another headcovering question  (Read 6353 times) Average Rating: 0
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clarinet3685
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« on: May 16, 2010, 07:42:33 PM »

I have a question about women covering their heads that I haven't been able to find the answer to.  I just emailed my priest to set up another meeting, but in the meantime I figured I'd post this question to all of you!  I'm an inquirer to Orthodoxy, and have been reading a lot about the practice of women covering their heads in church.  I absolutely feel this is something I should do, but is it appropriate since I am not yet Orthodox?  Also, I feel that I should cover my head at all times, since I try to always be praying to God.  I also feel this will help remind me of the person I am trying to be.  Would this be seen as inappropriate?  I thank you in advance for your responses.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:03:45 PM »

Being an inquirer shouldn't stop you from covering your head in church, especially if other women in your church cover their heads during worship. 

If the other women in the church don't cover, then it gets more tricky.  Covering can be seen by others who don't cover as a sort of false piety on your part, even though I know that is not your intent.  If the church you are attending is of one of the the Slavic or Oriental Orthodox traditions, chances are there are other women in your church who cover, and you would be fine doing so also.  In some of the other Orthodox traditions, covering the head during worship has fallen out of practice.

I wear a scarf in church and I find it helpful in focusing on worship.  You may want to try it, to see if it is helpful for you.

Covering your head outside of church is a different matter.  I don't think I could be that counter-cultural, but there are some women who are:

http://www.youtube.com/user/VeiledGlory

I would try it in church first, before thinking about wearing something all day.

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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 10:38:47 PM »

I started covering once I was an inquirer. Before that I wanted to cover but didn't because the majority of our parish does not. This can be a highly emotionally issue at some parishes. Talking to your priest is the best thing to do.
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clarinet3685
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 11:01:30 PM »

Thank you very much, Salpy and Quinault!  I am looking forward to talking to our priest about this issue.  I forgot to say that it's about 50/50 at our church as far as headcoverings go.  Salpy, thank you for the link you included - I've immersed myself in her blog and find it very interesting!  Thanks again!
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 11:19:10 PM »

If about fifty percent of the women in the congregation wear scarves, I would go ahead and try it.  It's about 40/60 percent at my church, and it's not an issue:  If women want to cover, they do; If they don't, they don't.  All women at my church cover their hair for communion, though.

I find the most comfortable scarves are long rectangular ones.  They just stay on easier, as the long ends weigh them down in front.  They don't slip back, especially if they are made of cotton.  They're easy to find right now in a lot of stores.  They are very popular, as it is fashionable to wear them around the neck.  If the women at your church wear lace mantillas and you want to try that, there are places you can find them on the internet.  I can give you links if you want.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 11:01:14 AM »

When we first visited our parish, a majority of the women wore headcoverings, so even though I was only a visitor, I respected their customs and wore a scarf. I have continued to do so, even though now many don't in our parish. I'm not doing it out of some sense of piety or pride - it's something I'm used to and it seems to help me focus on prayer and the Liturgy. It's kind of similar to the reason I wear a cross. I don't wear a cross to show people I'm a Christian - I wear it to remind myself that I'm a Christian! And to act like one, if possible.
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 03:18:37 PM »

I wonder how common it is for Orthodox women to wear head coverings at all times - I mean, outside of Russia.....and in the states, particularly.  I know of one young woman in our parish who does this.  There is one young woman who comes into the local coffee shop with a head scarf (I live in a podunk town) who I'm starting to develop a crush on  angel  - but I can't tell if she is muslim or not....or is just doing it as a fashion statement.
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2010, 03:31:30 PM »

My wife will always wear a head covering in church to the point of avoiding entering the church without one — she has very strong convictions about it. She was formerly one who wore a head cover at all times, but has recently become OK (after asking my permission/decision, so if this is in error it’s on me) with the idea of going to the store/out in public/etc. without a cover. The idea when she was a full-time coverer was that she was to wear a head cover when praying, and we are to pray without ceasing — not saying this was the right understanding of the practice, more of an err on the side of caution.
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2010, 03:34:34 PM »

By the same argument, I should never wear a hat.  I always wear beanies on bad hair days, including now.  Better not pray.
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 04:15:26 PM »

By the same argument, I should never wear a hat.  I always wear beanies on bad hair days, including now.  Better not pray.
Maybe you shouldn't, just to be safe.  Wink

Like I said, it’s not what she’s doing anymore. (I think that’s the application conservative Mennonites — which we are obviously not —use.)
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 04:33:29 PM »

The best piece of advice is not to look down on those who don't wear headcoverings.  I didn't wear one for a long time because I didn't like the attitude of some women who do.  For instance, I read posts by one woman who honestly thought that women who didn't wear headcoverings were hung up on their looks, and tended to wear makeup, had to wear the latest fashions, etc.  Well, in the parishes the only difference I've seen is that some wear headcoverings and some don't (otherwise I don't really see any difference in the women--in fact, some of the women wearing headcoverings and maybe wear shorter skirts/dresses than some of the women who don't cover their heads).  In other words, don't think that you are better and more holy than women who don't wear headcoverings.  The women in my parish who do cover their heads aren't like that, thank goodness, but some you run into on the internet who are very judgmental of women who don't.  For the record, I've met very holy women in both categories.  Personally, if I was in a parish where women don't wear them, I probably wouldn't.  Even when I didn't wear a headcovering, I would have done it in a parish where women do.  In my current parish, some women do and some don't.  I think Father would prefer it, but he doesn't push the issue. 
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 04:36:57 PM »

I wonder how common it is for Orthodox women to wear head coverings at all times - I mean, outside of Russia.....and in the states, particularly.  I know of one young woman in our parish who does this.  There is one young woman who comes into the local coffee shop with a head scarf (I live in a podunk town) who I'm starting to develop a crush on  angel  - but I can't tell if she is muslim or not....or is just doing it as a fashion statement.

My bishop talked about a situation at the parish in an entertainment town that is in our diocese.  There are a lot of Russian women who attend that are acrobats and perform in circus acts.  They will wear their headcoverings but the rest of their bodies are barely covered.  He said he'd rather they not wear the headcoverings but wear more modest clothing.  I honestly doubt whether most Russian women always wear headcoverings.
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 07:59:04 PM »

There is a woman who has attended my church for the last 15 years, who began attending because of her meeting and marrying one of this church's parishioners. During this time, she has been a very regular attender of services, as well as frequently helping out with various functions in the life of the parish. She dresses simply and not provocatively, her hair (which doesn't look styled to me) is tied back.

In this church, there's barely a bare female head to be found; in fact, there's a box of headscarves in a back room of which bare-headed women are expected to avail themselves. There are also long wrap skirts available for women who might (gasp!) enter the church wearing trousers. Yet, oddly enough, this woman I've mentioned has never worn anything on her head in all the time she's been there, nor has anyone, to my knowledge, ever made the slightest mention of why she is bare-headed (I know her husband well). From what I know, and have seen, of the conservatism of this parish, this is truly remarkable, and heartening. But to explain this acceptance without any dissent or criticism? That's beyond my ability, other than to say that what's important is not what's on a woman's head, but what's in her heart that matters.
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2010, 11:38:43 AM »

The best piece of advice is not to look down on those who don't wear headcoverings.  I didn't wear one for a long time because I didn't like the attitude of some women who do.  For instance, I read posts by one woman who honestly thought that women who didn't wear headcoverings were hung up on their looks, and tended to wear makeup, had to wear the latest fashions, etc.  Well, in the parishes the only difference I've seen is that some wear headcoverings and some don't (otherwise I don't really see any difference in the women--in fact, some of the women wearing headcoverings and maybe wear shorter skirts/dresses than some of the women who don't cover their heads).  In other words, don't think that you are better and more holy than women who don't wear headcoverings.  The women in my parish who do cover their heads aren't like that, thank goodness, but some you run into on the internet who are very judgmental of women who don't.  For the record, I've met very holy women in both categories.  Personally, if I was in a parish where women don't wear them, I probably wouldn't.  Even when I didn't wear a headcovering, I would have done it in a parish where women do.  In my current parish, some women do and some don't.  I think Father would prefer it, but he doesn't push the issue. 

But I suppose if a man came in wearing a hat and prayed with his head covered  he would mention it as being improper.   

Funny stuff.  Women can cover their faces with make-up, their lips with lipstick, but "keep that piece of cloth off my head!"

Hmm.

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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2010, 11:54:58 AM »

Dumb question, but couldn't one take the Big Black Baptist approach and wear a hat?
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2010, 12:14:11 PM »

Dumb question, but couldn't one take the Big Black Baptist approach and wear a hat?


Sure, and some do. My goddaughter had on a gorgeous red straw hat last Sunday. But hats are fairly expensive and sometimes difficult to find, as well as not fitting very well. Scarves are better, IMHO.

BTW, it hasn't been that long that hats for women were the norm in practically all American churches. I can remember my mother wearing beautiful hats, and my great-grandmother would no more have gone "downtown" shopping without a hat and gloves than she would have gone in her nightgown.
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2010, 03:00:38 PM »

Thank you everyone for your replies!  I'm glad katherine brought this up, about wearing a hat in church as well as shopping.  I'm not going to debate why we stopped doing this, but rather, what are peoples thoughts on continuing this tradition of covering one's head out of modesty.  I agree that it's only been in recent history that women haven't covered their heads, and I think it's a wonderful tradition to bring back - today you see so many women dressed in a way that would put the devil to shame.  I don't want to be a part of that (anymore!)  As a (hopefull) convert, how would this demonstration of modesty be recieved in the community?  I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying too hard, but I also feel that covering myself would be liberating - not having to worry about if my hair is just right, being able to pray whenever I need to without going to get my headscarf, etc.  Thanks again!
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2010, 04:12:00 PM »

Quote
that women who didn't wear headcoverings were hung up on their looks, and tended to wear makeup

If they were that great-looking, they wouldn't have to wear make-up anyway.  police
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2010, 05:21:10 PM »

Thank you everyone for your replies!  I'm glad katherine brought this up, about wearing a hat in church as well as shopping.  I'm not going to debate why we stopped doing this, but rather, what are peoples thoughts on continuing this tradition of covering one's head out of modesty.  I agree that it's only been in recent history that women haven't covered their heads, and I think it's a wonderful tradition to bring back - today you see so many women dressed in a way that would put the devil to shame.  I don't want to be a part of that (anymore!)  As a (hopefull) convert, how would this demonstration of modesty be recieved in the community?  I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying too hard, but I also feel that covering myself would be liberating - not having to worry about if my hair is just right, being able to pray whenever I need to without going to get my headscarf, etc.  Thanks again!

I don't see anything wrong with wearing a hat instead of a headscarf unless it's big enough that it might be annoying for the person standing behind the wearer.  Headscarves are a little less intrusive.  In the winter, though, I do like to just wear the hat I already wore outside, as long as it's not dripping wet.
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2010, 06:43:08 PM »

Matuska will often do that during the winter.  She wears a knit cap during the winter and will just keep that on her head for the service. 
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2010, 08:03:32 PM »

Great idea about the hat!
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2010, 09:53:48 PM »

I'm not going to debate why we stopped doing this, but rather, what are peoples thoughts on continuing this tradition of covering one's head out of modesty.  I agree that it's only been in recent history that women haven't covered their heads,

Hello,  I'm not trying to make trouble for you, but wanted to point out that in history there were different customs in different cultures and that in some of them people in general or women did not always wear hats/scarves but that didn't mean that they were immodest.  It hasn't been universal.  There can be a cultural component as well as practical ones.  In Japan a woman with uncovered hair has not been thought immodest but hats or other coverings are worn for specific purposes such as for protection from the weather or dirt. In parts of the lands of the south Pacific area head covers were not part of the customary garb.  There might be things like ornaments or hairdressing or headbands or the like, but uncovered hair does not necessarily mean immodest. 

Also, in many places through history everyone wore something on their heads because it was cold or wet or because washing hair was not as easy as it is now with shampoo and such.

I apologize for coming in

Ebor
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2010, 10:54:18 PM »

Just in case people are interested, here are some links for head coverings:

Mantillas

Halo-Works:

http://www.halo-works.com/category/chapel_veils_and_latin_style_mantillas/

They are a bit expensive, but I have personally found Halo-Works mantillas to be of good quality.  Their soft tulle "Dorothy Ann" style is nice, as the long ends in front weight it down and keep it from slipping back too much:

http://www.halo-works.com/product/HW041ST/Dorothy-Ann---Soft-Tulle---HW041ST.html


Other places that sell mantillas:

http://www.aquinasandmore.com/category/1187/fuseaction/store.BrowseCategory/productsperpage/20/layout/grid/currentpage/1

http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/Headcoverings_Veils.html

http://www.headcoverings.com/

(This last two links have different kinds of coverings, in addition to lace mantillas.)


Scarves

Here is a link to a site that has many different types of coverings, including long rectangular scarves, triangular scarves, and square scarves:

http://www.tznius.com/


Also, as I said earlier, many stores have long rectangular scarves available, as they happen to be a fashionable accessory right now.


Here's a blog about headcoverings:

http://thoseheadcoverings.blogspot.com/

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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2010, 05:16:09 PM »

You might also try thrift stores--a lot of women at my parish have found them in thrift stores.  I have quite a collection that I've gotten in thrift stores, and they don't cost very much.
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2010, 07:06:25 PM »

I like this site
http://www.coveryourhair.com/
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2010, 11:05:54 PM »

Here's another: I bought this style http://www.garlandsofgrace.com/products-page/classic-coverings/suzannes-classic-cotton/

It's available in many different colours and has a narrow velvet ribbon stitched on the underside of the front edge. It looks good and stays put even on very fine thin hair and even during prostrations, which mantillas don't.
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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2010, 03:30:07 AM »

Definitely thrift...most stores from traditional to punky will have say, a basket of scarves and that's how I got mine.
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2010, 04:49:48 PM »

Here's another: I bought this style http://www.garlandsofgrace.com/products-page/classic-coverings/suzannes-classic-cotton/

It's available in many different colours and has a narrow velvet ribbon stitched on the underside of the front edge. It looks good and stays put even on very fine thin hair and even during prostrations, which mantillas don't.


I love their head coverings. I've gotten a few of them. The Suzanne style you posted is one I regularly wear to church. I find when they're tied on the baby has a harder time tugging it off.   Grin
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2010, 12:19:51 PM »

I'm currently considering converting or rather starting the process of converting to the Orthodox church. I've read some literature and I'm going to a session next week to people who want to convert, but have not spoken to the local priest yet. I'm so glad I found this site! I was just looking at some pictures from local parish and saw some women covering their heads. I have never seen this before and was really confused. Now I understand that it is practised by some. I'm positively surprised. I was brought up lutheran but went to a catholic school and have read intensively about judaism and islam as well and I have always had an urge of covering my head when I pray,  but I had no idea it was still done in the orthodox church. Wow.
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« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2010, 09:57:56 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Maj!

I'm glad you found our site, too.   Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2010, 09:40:56 PM »

Dumb question, but couldn't one take the Big Black Baptist approach and wear a hat?


Sure, and some do. My goddaughter had on a gorgeous red straw hat last Sunday. But hats are fairly expensive and sometimes difficult to find, as well as not fitting very well. Scarves are better, IMHO.

BTW, it hasn't been that long that hats for women were the norm in practically all American churches. I can remember my mother wearing beautiful hats, and my great-grandmother would no more have gone "downtown" shopping without a hat and gloves than she would have gone in her nightgown.

only the Russians and Serbs in my church cover their heads with veils.  my godmother, and another woman, wear the most interesting hats!  then there are a number of women that don't cover their heads.  there is a lot of diversity when people move from different churches.  one woman doesn't use the pews, except for Father's sermon.  she stands out on the area rug to pray.
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2010, 09:43:14 PM »

Here's another: I bought this style http://www.garlandsofgrace.com/products-page/classic-coverings/suzannes-classic-cotton/

It's available in many different colours and has a narrow velvet ribbon stitched on the underside of the front edge. It looks good and stays put even on very fine thin hair and even during prostrations, which mantillas don't.


I love their head coverings. I've gotten a few of them. The Suzanne style you posted is one I regularly wear to church. I find when they're tied on the baby has a harder time tugging it off.   Grin

my priest's wife could use that!  a choir director looking after a 2 year old and a 4 year old.
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« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2010, 01:20:28 AM »

I have a question about women covering their heads that I haven't been able to find the answer to.  I just emailed my priest to set up another meeting, but in the meantime I figured I'd post this question to all of you!  I'm an inquirer to Orthodoxy, and have been reading a lot about the practice of women covering their heads in church.  I absolutely feel this is something I should do, but is it appropriate since I am not yet Orthodox?  Also, I feel that I should cover my head at all times, since I try to always be praying to God.  I also feel this will help remind me of the person I am trying to be.  Would this be seen as inappropriate?  I thank you in advance for your responses.

I haven't read the other responses, but I can only say that I wish everyone had the same Christian spirit and attitude that you demonstrate with your question. NEVER let anyone or anything deter you from erring on the side of modesty, reverence, and devotion! Who cares if others think you are being "falsely pious." They cannot judge your heart. It is the Holy Spirit working within you that has caused you to desire to cover your head. Follow through with that desire, for in doing so you will be a righteous example to other women. Perhaps there are women who want to cover their heads also, but are afraid they will stand out. But if they see you covering, then they might feel encouraged to do so themselves. In short, there is nothing inappropriate about modesty and devotion.

Peace to you.

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"If we are unwilling to accept any truth that we have not first discovered and declared ourselves, we demonstrate that we are interested not in the truth so much as in being right." ~ Thomas Merton ~
augustin717
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2010, 01:55:13 AM »

In my grandparents' generation head-covering was quasi-universal (outside of church); in my parents' generation it became less widespread, I would say, 50% or slightly less, in my generation it's quite rare and it surely looks hyper-pious or like an affectation. No longer as natural as for my grandmothers. They have been covering their head for all their lives. That is about 80 years.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 02:12:54 AM by augustin717 » Logged
clarinet3685
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« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2010, 09:15:11 AM »

Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Gebre!  I will continue to cover, and know in my heart that it is not intended to be falsely pious, but to show glory to God and remind me of what I should be doing at all times - worshiping Him!  Thanks again,
Lindsay
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« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2010, 12:09:54 PM »

In my Church (in region of Moldova Romania) in Church all women wear a head covering young and old (except smaller children), outside of Church the older generation women still tend to wear them all the time. Interestingly Church is well attended by all age groups and services are very long. Last service was 3 hours with 1 hour (total time) kneeling and 2 hours standing. Only the very old sat rather than stand but even they still struggled to their knees when required.
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« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2010, 04:33:33 PM »

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2010, 06:33:05 PM »

There's alot of girls in modern American society who were some scarves around their hair. It is not a problem, or even necessarily a sign of religion.
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clarinet3685
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2010, 10:24:25 PM »

There's alot of girls in modern American society who were some scarves around their hair. It is not a problem, or even necessarily a sign of religion.

Very true!  I've gone out with my head covered a few times now, and never even got a look!  I suppose it helps that we live in the metro area of a very large city, with a lot of diversity, but no one even noticed me.  I've also begun noticing the large number of women I see with their heads covered.  I'm learning not to assume anything about women wearing a headcovering.  You know what they say about when you assume... Grin
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« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2010, 03:26:09 AM »

i am very new to here....this thread did catch my eye....i spent 30 years in pentecostal Assembly of God for which i have the utmost respect....but i dont think the evangelical church of today is much like the one i saw in the 70"s when we talked (and practiced) fasting, intense prayer, humility....somewhere along the line the general movement got off track....in those days, we often taught women that they needed a "covering" whether it be their husband, father, brother, pastor to represent the Father...not a "boss" by any means but someone to lovingly moderate, listen and advise....i love the symbolism of the head covering- that my holy God truly "covers" me with His grace and protection....i have talked with a few women during coffee hour and they are touched with that explanation...but no one wants to look "more pious" than others...i would not be averse to wearing covering whenever out of the home....just some thoughts...
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2010, 03:28:27 AM »

i am very new to here....this thread did catch my eye....i spent 30 years in pentecostal Assembly of God for which i have the utmost respect....but i dont think the evangelical church of today is much like the one i saw in the 70"s when we talked (and practiced) fasting, intense prayer, humility....somewhere along the line the general movement got off track....in those days, we often taught women that they needed a "covering" whether it be their husband, father, brother, pastor to represent the Father...not a "boss" by any means but someone to lovingly moderate, listen and advise....i love the symbolism of the head covering- that my holy God truly "covers" me with His grace and protection....i have talked with a few women during coffee hour and they are touched with that explanation...but no one wants to look "more pious" than others...i would not be averse to wearing covering whenever out of the home....just some thoughts...

Great thoughts! Welcome to the forum!


Selam
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"If we are unwilling to accept any truth that we have not first discovered and declared ourselves, we demonstrate that we are interested not in the truth so much as in being right." ~ Thomas Merton ~
augustin717
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« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2010, 12:04:04 PM »

That's how our peasants used to dress:
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Rosehip
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« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2010, 12:37:27 PM »

When I visited Romania, I was struck by the fact that nearly all the Pentecostal and Baptist women wore headcoverings all the time. Very beautiful!
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« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2010, 12:59:21 PM »

That's how our peasants used to dress:

That's beautiful! It's a shame that overall Westernization is killing cultural traditions such as national costumes.
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« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2010, 01:51:19 PM »

"That's how our peasants used to dress:"

And people in some parts of the country still do wear these at the weekend including teenagers, particularly in Maramurese in North Romania where traditions are still very strong. The colour on the apron indicates which village they come from.
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